Investigating complaints
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Investigating complaints

Healthcare professionals working in England may be aware of the role of the Health Service Ombudsman in England. But the work carried out by the local authority equivalent can also affect the lives of people with learning disabilities. Anne Carus, an investigator based in York, focuses on what forms the main body of the ombudsman’s work

The Health Service Ombudsman, our sister service, investigates complaints about the health service, but at the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) we investigate complaints from members of the public about a wide range of council services. In 2005 to 2006 we received 18,626 complaints, of which 1,449 came under our ‘social services’ categories (i.e. Complaints about adults’ and children’s services’). Below I outline some of the ways that the work we do can touch those providing services for people with learning disabilities. For example, health professionals might:

■ be asked to provide information as part of an investigation we’re carrying out into a complaint against a council. For example, we’ve requested information from a doctor and specialist nurse about the information they gave a council about a couple with learning disabilities who were the subject of complaints from neighbours and who were then threatened with eviction by the council.

■ be asked for information or interviewed by us when we’re working together with officers of the Health Service Ombudsman on a joint investigation into complaints against both health and social care agencies.

■ make a complaint to us on behalf of someone they work with who they feel is not receiving a good service from their local council. It could be about any service the council provides, not just its social care functions. For example, if someone with learning disabilities might be pursued for council tax or rent arrears, or be homeless and not receiving help from the local housing department.

Learning Disability Practice. 10, 6, 36-37. doi: 10.7748/ldp2007.

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